A reporter called me because he was trying to find information on the violinist Patricia Travers, who was born in 1928 and died this Feb. 9. Apparently she was a child prodigy who was quite famous in the 1940s and even made an appearance in the movie "There's Magic in Music." She also played and owned the Tom Taylor Strad, which is also the instrument that Josh Bell played on for so many years before he bought his own.
Here is what a Youtube video (embedded below) said:
"Patricia Travers was born in Clifton, New Jersey, the daughter of a well-to-do family. Her father, a successful attorney, was also an amateur violin maker, and he gave Patricia a 1/4 size violin on her third birthday. She was a quick study, and at age six, she gave her first concert. She became well-known locally, and her success earned her an appearance at Carnegie Hall in 1938 - at the age of nine. Her success spread nationwide after that, and it earned her several concert appearances.
In 1940, Paramount signed her to appear in the film "There's Magic in Music." The film itself achieved modest results, but it showcased her talents for millions to see and served as a springboard for her career. Travers was originally signed to simply perform a violin work (an arrangement of Anton Rubinstein's Romance in E flat), but the director found out that she was also a good actress, and her deadpan wisecracking upstaged even the established adults. As a result, she won acclaim from even the toughest critics.
Good actress or not, Travers was first and foremost a violinist, and her family turned down requests to appear in more movies. For the next eleven years, the petite, curly-haired young girl had a full schedule of concert appearances, performing as often as 100 times per year. To ensure that she got a reasonable education, she was accompanied by a private tutor, and often also by her mother Veronica. Travers was not only a prodigal musician far beyond her years; she was considered a fine violinist, regardless of age or gender. She may have been a young girl in appearance, but she was an accomplished musician, and her performances were considered as good as those of concert violinists many times her age. There exists, in newspaper archives and elsewhere, a solid record of concert appearances from 1941 until late 1951, including at least 60 with symphony orchestras.
After that, Travers literally vanished. At some point in time, probably in early 1952, she decided to stop performing. The reason for this is unknown. No record exists of her marrying, and no record exists as to what she did thereafter. Her famous violin, the "Tom Taylor", was sold in 1954 to a benefactor who gave it to a California university. Other than that, there is no further newspaper activity about her, nor has there been a "whatever happened to" or "where is this person today" article. For the past 55 years, Travers has ceased to exist in the public eye, although her whereabouts are known. The best guess is that she took the route Greta Garbo and Deana Durbin did and simply decided to have no more to do with it."
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